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Clare Mansell

My recipe and method for homemade bread (without the breadmaker)

You know those projects that haunt you? Those things you have literally been meaning to get round to doing for years? Well this my friends is one of them…. It is at least 3 years since I promised a friend of mine that I’d make a video showing how I make my homemade bread and for those 3 years a series of not particularly interesting or very good reasons have held me back from doing it.

In the end it transpired that all I really needed to get past the obstacles I was putting in front of myself, was a £7.99 tablecloth… but there we go… it is done now!

Our family have been passionate breadmakers for about the last 15 years ever since my sister and brother-in-law went on a breadmaking course with Richard Bertinet. My mum makes a lot of breadsticks, whilst we mostly specialise in this loaf and pizza bases. My brother-in-law has progressed to sour dough and foccacia, his bakes are always a bit of a treat!

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samsung american fridge freezer review

It’s funny the way things pan out, nine years ago when we fitted out our kitchen with dedicated space and plumbing for an American fridge freezer we could never have predicted that it would take nearly a decade before we were able to fill the space with the appliance it was designed to fit, nor that we would have to wait equally as long to have a summer that really allowed it to come into its own!

For the last month while we have basked in glorious sunshine, our standard size fridge freezer has been bursting at the seams as we have attempted to chill all the things required for summer entertaining and in our garage our overflow freezer which we normally turn off for the hottest months, has been drafted in for extra duties, keeping bags of ice cool for drinks at barbecues.

But all that changed last week when thanks to AO.com we joined the American Fridge Freezer club and I can truly say it was worth the wait!

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Home Life Project – July 2018

The Home Life Project is a personal photography project I started shortly after my youngest child was born to put aside a day a month to record the everyday moments of family life through the seasons. All too often the weeks rush by and we find that without a specific event to act as a trigger we forget to photograph our every day.

Now in its third year I still find great value in having a date in the diary to make the effort to use my big camera to photograph family moments. Others join along too some intermittently, some more frequently, but if you ever wish to get your camera out and share the results you are more than welcome…

July is of course a joy to photograph and this summer has been particularly kind to us. It was 31c yesterday and after a morning at home we were lucky enough to spend some time in my parents pool cooling off with two crazy water babies whose swimming skills have really come into their own during this warm weather.

As my mum often says it was “a day for the freezer”.

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Design Collective trip to Pallant House Art Gallery

One of my Blogtacular “takeaways” was to “do whatever it takes to feed your creative mind.” I realise over the last 12 months I’ve been guilty of counting the cost of babysitters and failing to take some of the creative opportunities on my doorstep, so I have resolved to try and restore the balance in that area. Not everything that matters can be counted and not all that can be counted matters, and all that…

The first step towards creative enrichment was an evening trip out with the Design Collective : Chichester. A wonderful group established by my friends Alys Bryan  & Julia Grant which meets regularly for work and fun. Our destination was Pallant House Art Gallery. How many times have I walked past this place over he last 5 years and thought “One day I must go in there”?  It’s frightening how the time goes by and these things elude us.

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two stitches charlie hoodie sewing pattern

Sitting outside our holiday gite in France last summer I drew up a short list of things I wanted to achieve after the holiday had ended, which included mastering sewing with jersey and getting healthier and fitter. By Christmas I had shed a stone, started running and had one unfinished (failed?) jersey project.

It turns out that for me at least, losing weight, giving up alcohol and getting up early every Sunday morning to run 5k was easier than sewing jersey – how could this be?

Jersey and I have been at a stand off for many years. I let a mental block develop that I could only sew jersey if I had an overlocker and I could only have an overlocker if it was a ‘decent’ (+£500) one. Even attending a class last Christmas didn’t help, because I didn’t sew with my own machine and I never got to the end of the project, but this week things finally took an about turn and I have whipped jersey into submission, let me tell you how it happened.

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